Building Great Parent-Teacher Relationships
By Esther Blair
“It takes a village to raise a child.”
Research shows that a strong parent-teacher relationship boosts student achievement and outcomes, especially for lower-income students. These relationships don’t just happen though — parents and teachers must be partners in the education of their students.
While not every parent is going to want to be involved in every aspect of their child’s schooling, there are things that teachers can do to build a partnership with parents to benefit the students they have been entrusted with teaching.
Send home parent surveys
At the beginning of the year, send home a survey to each of your student’s parents or guardians. Most parents love the opportunity to tell others more about their child, and it will provide you with insight to the strengths, weaknesses and unique traits that each student possesses.
Create monthly newsletters
Include learning objectives and goals for the month ahead and list any important dates that parents may like to know about (ex: Spirit Week or a big upcoming project) and let them know how they can contact you if they need to. Keeping parents in the loop reduces the opportunity for miscommunications or misunderstandings and can help build trust.
Contact parents with good news
Usually, parents and teachers only really talk if something is going wrong. Build relationships with parents by letting them know when their child stood up for another student or when they worked especially hard at mastering a new skill. Sharing successes lets parents know that you see their child as an individual and may allow for better communication in the future.
Manage conflict well
Let’s face it, sometimes phone calls with parents can be as tense as if you were a hostage negotiator. Whether you had to let a mom know about unwelcome behavioral issues or a father is upset with a grade their child earned, parents may attach a great amount of emotion to the topic at hand.
In these moments stay calm, don’t take the conflict personally, and never be afraid to reach out to your administrators if you feel mediation is necessary for the benefit of your student and your own well-being.
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